Summary: The real problem that we face in this world today is a problem in the hearts of the people of God.
If I told you there are many problems in this world, I wouldn't be telling you anything that you don't already know. You can categorize the problems anyway you wish, but when it comes right down to the lowest common denominator, and if we are willing to accept the Bible, it is a problem of God's people.
It is such a problem that the only thing that could possibly bring relief, either inidividually, or corporately, is a sin-killing revival, where the people of God leave their lukewarmness and come back to old-fashioned holiness. Not a holiness that works from the outsided, but a holiness that works from the inside and shows up on the outside. Holiness that only works from the outside is one where a person says, "I'd like to commit that sin, but I can't." Holiness from the inside is one like Joseph had, when he told Potiphar's wife, "God forbid that I should sin against God and against Potiphar." God was so real in his life, that he didn't want to.
So, when you talk about our problems, sin is the problem, and sin comes from a heart that is not fully given to God, who fully gave Himself to us. You might say that the heart of the problem is the problem of the heart.
I want you to see four kinds of hearts that are evident in this text, but more than that, it is my prayer that we would identify our own spiritual condition, as we consider our hearts before God.
The Divided Heart, v1-4
In my judgment, this is the condition of most of the Christian world at the present time.
Jeremiah kept telling the people of Judah that God's judgment was coming, but the people just wouldn't listen. They had a divided heart. They wanted to hold on to God with one hand, but they wanted to hold on to the sinful things of the world with the other hand.
God said that they had written their sin in such a way that it wasn't going to be erased. V1, a pen of iron with the point of a diamond, it was engraved, not in stone, but even worse: it was engraved on the tablets of their hearts! That means they were fully satisfied with their sin and had no plans to change.
What's sad is that these folks would have argued that they were worshippers of Jehovah God, but in the practical every day living of their lives, there was not much to prove it.
Jeremiah kept preaching, and they kept not listening. As a matter of fact, when you come to chapter 26, the people had become very tired of Jeremiah's preaching, and in essence said, "It's time for us to get ourselves another preacher, but first we've got to get rid of this one." Do you think that ever happens in this modern day in which we live? They tried to kill Jeremiah, but God delivered him.
In v4, God said in so many words, "I'm not going to bless your sinful living. I will use your enemies to punish you." So God used Babylon, much like a wise parent would use a switch to correct an unruly child.
When people who say they are the people of God, members of their church in good standing, are involved in the same ungodly practices as those who do not know the Lord, are their hearts not divided?
When they rob from God and use their tithe to pay for their creature comforts, are their hearts not divided?
When they choose to skip going to the Lord's house on the Lord's day, are their hearts not divided? You hear people talking about the hypocrites in church, but I'll tell you the biggest hypocrite in the world is that person who says he loves God, and is surrendered to God, yet he has simply chosen to be somewhere else this morning.
And what is so heart-breaking is that many people have engraved their sinfulness on their hearts, just like these people of Judah, and they have no plans of changing.
The Departed Heart, v5-6
The difference in the departed heart and the divided heart, is that the person with a departed heart has completely turned his back on the correcting voice of God, that comes through the preaching of God's word and the wooings of God's Spirit.
Many of the people of Judah were in that very condition. We talked about, a couple of weeks ago, how that we have people who claim to be members of this church, but they have no interest in this church, whatsoever. This church, or the ministry of the gospel that goes out from this church, means nothing to them. They were here for a while, but now they have a departed heart. They are demonstrating by their actions that they trust in something other than the guiding hand of God.